Helen Clark has been named as the first patron of the Sir Edmund Hillary Himalayan Trust.
The trust works to improve education, healthcare and drinking water in Nepal - one of the world's poorest countries.
Its chairperson, Michael Gill, said Ms Clark's strong friendship with the late Sir Edmund, her passion for reducing poverty, and her love of mountaineering made her an ideal choice as patron.
The former prime minister will trek to the Everest region next year as part of the centenary celebrations of Sir Edmund's birth in 1919.
"She will meet some of the communities we work with and see first-hand the real and lasting impact of Sir Ed and New Zealand's unique contribution to this region," Mr Gill said.
"She will also visit the recent work funded by New Zealanders, including some of the 150 earthquake-strengthened classrooms built to replace those destroyed in the 2015 earthquakes."
Ms Clark said Sir Ed had been an inspiration and a role model for generations of New Zealanders for his spirit of adventure, modesty, humanity and compassion.
"His friendship with the people of Nepal and his work through the Himalayan Trust to support education and health in the Everest region are a legacy that New Zealand can be proud of," Ms Clark said.
"I look forward to celebrating this legacy."
Sir Edmund established the Himalayan Trust in the 1960s, when he built the first schools and hospitals in the Everest region.